Not now. Maybe later.

On December 24 Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times opinion columnist, published a piece titled “Time for G.O.P. to Threaten to Fire Trump.” He wrote, “the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president” to get him to make an unlikely “radical change in how he conducts himself.”

Failing that, according to Friedman, Republican leadership should “press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.”

Richard M. Nixon, after revelations of crimes that would have led to his impeachment, had an intervention from members of Congress on August 7, 1974. Those meeting with the President were Sen. Barry Goldwater, House Minority Leader John Rhodes, and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott.

According to accounts by the three White House visitors, their role in Nixon’s resignation the next day, effective on August 9, was exaggerated. They simply told Nixon that his support among Republicans had largely disappeared. Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential candidate, did the talking and sat facing Nixon while the other two sat on either side of him. (Senator Howard Baker had actively participated  in Senate hearings and had thereby made his feelings well known but did not attend.)

Unlike Friedman’s call for G.O.P. demands for Trump behavioral adjustments, the Nixon situation in August, 1974 had gotten to the point where Nixon’s behavior played no role. He had to go.  Nevertheless, Goldwater, et al maintained that they did not persuade or urge Nixon to resign. They just gave him an informal G.O.P. head count (they had not polled their respective conferences.)

Would such an intervention work or even happen today? I think not. Here’s why:

There aren’t any Republicans with the courage to confront Trump. They have let Trump get away with untruths; threats to scrap multilateral institutions because they undermine “America First;” spurning allies and approving enemies; reading nothing and knowing nothing while claiming to be the “only one” with the ability to repair what is broken; and a descent from decorum excused by “let Trump be Trump” and “that’s the way he is” prattle.

Who would go to the White House? Senate Majority Leader Mitchell whose wife is in the Cabinet? Any others?

They are afraid of Trump. He packs a mean punch on social media. Even if they are in secure Republican districts or states, there’s always the threat of a primary fight as a result of nasty Tweets of condemnation based on lies about those who would oppose him. Primaries cost money and money is not easy to raise.

There are no imminent threats to Trump’s continuation in office. That’s true. Kind of. Nothing has happened yet.

On the other hand, those who believe that Mueller’s report will be a toothless exercise in hortatory verbiage are smoking that which is soon to be legal almost everywhere! And if the report describes Trumpery that crosses an impeachment line, similar to approving those who murdered Khashoggi, which is not an impeachable offense but universally condemned, that’s it for Trump.  “Crossing a line” is hard to define. Like the Supreme Court’s proverbial hard core pornography test, we can’t explain it but we know it when we see it.

Intervention would not work. Trump believes himself to be faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Superprez! From all that appears, he is not amenable to interventions. Belief in his “base” sustains him in the face of criticism. His reaction would be “let it happen,” morphing to the notion of “rule or ruin” or “après moi le deluge.”

Because of the way he has rolled them, Trump would have no respect for intervenors.


While there seems to be little chance of a Trump intervention by Republicans now, that can change as more facts are known. For example, what is the state-owned subpoena recipient seeking to avoid contempt and what did it do?

Revelations to come may still the “base” ardor for Trump.  There is a very narrow line between “he’s standing up for us” and “he’s a danger.” Should the facts to come change Trump’s situation to the point of unacceptability, no assurance can be given that he would respond to party sachems and throw in the towel.

To quote our chief executive: sad.